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June 1, 2018

By Vighnesh Vaitheeswaran

Managers are needed to utilize their ability to effectively lead and empower their resources to accomplish their department’s goals. Unfortunately, many managers are not chosen for their ability to lead, but for their ability to firefight and to personally deliver outcomes. These behaviors reinforce themselves as managers take on more critical tasks, resulting in star “doers” who are too busy to delegate and effectively utilize the resources available to them.

A successful, effective manager exhibits the following 6 behaviors to motivate and empower their employees to drive and achieve goals

  1. Plan and set clear expectations
    1. An engaged employee understands what is expected of them, and understands how to fulfill on those expectations
    2. Managers need to translate their department’s plans to an expectation that is executable by their employee
  1. Follow up on those expectations
    1. Short interval follow up is necessary to ensure that employees are aligned to a manager’s vision and are on track to achieving the expectations set forth
    2. Nothing frustrates an employee more than working long hours on a task, whose output can’t be used by the manager; short interval follow up ensures employees can fail faster and succeed sooner
  1. Provide feedback on how an employee is fulfilling those expectations
    1. Empowering employees requires reinforcement of positive behaviors and outcomes AND addressing negative behaviors and outcomes
    2. Honest, judgement free feedback motivates employees to take action to fulfill expectations
  1. Identify skill gaps and coach/train to close the gap
    1. Identify quickly when employees just don’t have full skill capability to fulfill on expectations
    2. Coach and provide training to willing employees who want to learn to close gaps
  2. Empower employees to solve problems
    1. 80% of problems should be solvable by employees
    2. Managers should teach their employees to ask the right questions, and understand when to escalate to their manager
  1. Report on performance to plan
    1. Create and share follow up reporting on performance to plan
    2. Conduct regular huddles with employees to review performance KPIs to identify root causes and actions to continuously improve performance

As Queen Elizabeth II said, “I know of no single formula for success. But over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together.” Managing and motivating people is key to a successful and effective manager.